No Car Will Be the New Apple Car

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
no car will be the new apple car

After numerous rumored postponements to the vehicle’s intended release, repeated strategy disagreements, large-scale layoffs, and the loss of key team members assigned to the self-driving vehicle project, it appears that Apple is scrapping the idea of building a car entirely.

According to Bloomberg, hundreds of members of Apple’s Project Titan have been laid off, reassigned to other projects, or have outright quit over the last few months. As a result, the initiative has been embarrassingly “refocused” once again.

In 2015, Apple expanded its autonomous vehicle project from 200 people to over a thousand, frequently poaching experts from the automotive and tech sectors. Given the size of the team, it certainly looked like Apple was committed to bringing a car to market. But as deadlines slipped and more employees headed for the exit, that seemed less and less likely.

Now it just isn’t happening. This time around, the refocusing doesn’t include a production — or even prototype — vehicle at all. Instead, Apple has given itself a deadline of late next year to establish a self-driving system and decide the fate of the entire project. So, assuming the project survives at all, Apple will likely be using it to develop technology for existing automakers that may want an autonomous vehicle — Ford for example.

Reports on the issues surrounding the project’s ignominious breakdown highlight inconsistent management. One anonymous source interviewed by Bloomberg even referred to it as “an incredible failure of leadership.”

Bob Mansfield has headed Project Titan since Steve Zadesky’s departure earlier this year, providing oversight as hundreds of hardware engineers working on elements of the physical vehicle were cut from the program — the final nail in the iCar’s coffin. The remaining software engineers will continue progress on autonomous programs, driving sensors, and simulators to test the technology (should it actually be implemented on an actual vehicle). As stated earlier, they have until next year to do so.

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  • La834 La834 on Oct 17, 2016

    I can't see this new direction lasting long either. Apple famously likes to "make the whole widget", not just the software or partnering with other companies. The iPhone has been far more profitable than its competitors because Apple makes the hardware, the software, and related online services - the entire ecosystem. Android is popular but Google doesn't make much money giving away an operating system that runs mostly on other companies' hardware. Microsoft has reached the same conclusion and is now making tablets and laptops that run Windows. I can't see Apple just providing software to Ford or something; either they'll build the whole car or stay out of the automotive industry.

  • 05lgt 05lgt on Oct 19, 2016

    I heard Woz was admitted for a hernia from laughing all the way to ...

  • Arthur Dailey "Check out the used car market." Late model, low mileage vehicles are in many instance selling for more than you would pay if you put a deposit on a new vehicle. The reason? Supply and demand. You can take the used vehicle home now. Whereas you might have to wait up to 24 months for your new vehicle.
  • VoGhost Matt, you say 'overpriced', but don't you mean 'underpriced'? It's when a manufacturer underprices, that dealers add their markup. If they were overpriced, the dealers would discount.
  • Bobbysirhan I'm surprised by the particular Porsches to make the list, and also by the Cadillac. Most of all, I'm shocked that the 2-door Mini Cooper is on here. I didn't even know they still made them, let alone that anyone was still buying them.
  • Ajla I assume the CT5 is on the list due to the Blackwing variant.It would be interesting to take the incentives that existed in October 2019 and include that in an analysis like this as well. The thing about the used market is that while you'll pay less in total dollars, in some cases the percentage increase from 2019 is even worse than with new cars. Buying a Saturn Relay for $6k isn't exactly a winning move.
  • VoGhost Reminder: dealers exist to line the pockets of millionaires who contribute to local politicians.